Ep. 34 2018 Caz Adams from Usefulbox (Sewing classes)
In this weeks episode I speak with the sewing Queen of Usefulbox, Caz Adams
Tell me about yourself.
I’m Caz, wife and mum of a 6yr old son, Spike.
I teach sewing, as www.usefulbox.com.au, and also work in my husbands business, which is Film Visual Effects.
My main career, pre children, was in Event management. We have lived and worked in London and Singapore, which is where Spike was born.
I had a pretty horrible experience post birth. After an emergency c-section, my bowel reacted to the anesthetic and swelled up. It’s called paralytic ileus, or Ogilvie’s Syndrome, and it ended with my bowel rupturing and going into septic shock when Spike was 12 days old. I had a 40% chance of survival. I spent the next 5 weeks in hospital, in Singapore, 2 of those weeks in intensive care. I had some bowel removed and was given an Ileostomy, or stoma. I had several operations during those weeks and given masses and masses of antibiotics. My mother in law was there to help my husband look after Spike.
We came home pretty quickly after I was released from hospital and I had to find a new normal with my ileostomy bag and a baby! The ileostomy was reversed after 18months and I have been fine since.
It was a really hard first two years after Spike’s birth!
After he started going to preschool, I started teaching sewing. When people would find out that I sewed, they would ask me to teach them. So I thought I would give it a go. So I planned a class and put it up on Inner West Mums and the class booked out. It’s been steady ever since!
Sewing has been a huge part of my life and has always been there for me through the hard times. I was super keen to get back to sewing after all my operations and it helped me work through a lot of grief and sadness post my birth complications. I truly believe that sewing is instrumental in keeping my mental health in check and that is it such a great hobby for a mother. It’s the perfect ME TIME activity.
Describe for us, a day in the life of you. Do you have any tips or life hacks?
After I drop my son at school, I get back home and do some chores, get ready for the afternoon after school time with my son. Then embark on working for either UsefulBox or my husband! I can often be at a private sewing lesson during school hours or nap times too. I see the clock hit 2pm and then panic as I haven’t gotten to lunch! School hours go by so very quickly!
- I’m not a morning person so I do as much the night before as I can:
o Pack tomorrow’s lunches the night before while making dinner
o Set the washing machine on a timer to be finished its cycle by the time I wake up so I can hang out before school.
o Have kids school clothes laid out the night before.
o Pack my bag the night before.
- Set reminders in my phone for everything.
- Bullet journals!
What was the best advice you have received?
I wasn’t able to breastfeed Spike, due to being so sick, and I felt very upset and guilty about that. My body had to heal itself and couldn’t also make milk! My father in law said to me, “they tell you in a plane to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others for a reason!” That eased my worry!
What books are you currently reading or do you have a fave Netflix or Stan show?
My husband did the visual effects for the latest Crazy Rich Asians movie so I read the book before we saw it. I am now onto the sequel and loving it. I enjoy knowing all the places in Singapore that they talk about!
I did really love Grace and Frankie on Netflix and am enjoying The Good Place at the moment. Nothing beats The Crown though!
If you cook, what recipes can you share or meal prep tips?
We’ve just rebuilt our house so I have new kitchen, which I am really enjoying at the moment.
I do love cooking and really love baking. My fav recipe at the moment is Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Shepherds Pie - https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/vegan-shepherd-s-pie/
And my fav dessert is Nigella’s chocolate pavlova….I’ve lost count how many times I have made this! https://www.nigella.com/recipes/chocolate-raspberry-pavlova
Meal prep tips – a meal plan works nicely, if you have the time to plan! I do sometimes get the veges ready before school pick up and then I am ready to down tools and spend time with Spike before the dinner crazy time.
What one area of your life would you like to improve?
I would like to schedule my time better to include exercise and proper sewing time. Exercise is very elusive at the moment and I need to get better at prioritising that!
What’s your greatest fear and how do you deal with it?
I felt very mortal as soon as I found out I was pregnant. And then after that terrible time, I am very aware of my mortality. So I just try to be as healthy as I can, have all the checks I need to have at the right time and have fun with my family.
My other greatest fear is of birds….and I deal with it by getting away from them as quickly as I can!
What website have you signed up to that you actually find value in receiving their emails
If you like sewing and craft, I love Abby Glassenberg’s weekly newsletter. Full of interesting craft info. http://abbyglassenberg.com
What’s one piece of advice you would give your pre baby self
Be kind to yourself and listen to your instincts!
What’s the most useful / useless baby item you have?
Useful would be the bugaboo pram, I loved it!
Useless would be silly feeding cups that spilled everywhere